Hemingway: App of the Week

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Hemingway is an app that helps people see their writing the way the reader will see it. It analyzes the text and then lets you know where you can make changes to make it easier to read.

Hemingway selects highlights text in one of four colors to represent the following potential mistakes: hard to read, very hard to read, has a simpler alternative, passive voice, and adverbsFor hard or very hard sentences, you can improve them by shortening or adding punctuation. When a phrase has a simpler alternative, such as “use” instead of “utilize” it will provide you with a suggestion to change it. Adverbs and passive voice aren’t necessarily bad, but too many of them may make your writing harder to read.

In addition to editing, Hemingway also provides an approximate reading level, word count, and reading time for the piece. These can be helpful for making sure your piece will be accessible to your intended audience. For example, a piece that will be displayed on a screen for under 30 seconds should have a read time of 40 seconds. Similarly, a piece written for the general public should have a grade level at or below tenth grade. However, writing for a college class could have a much higher reading level.

You can copy and paste or type directly into the Hemingway Editor in any browser and receive instant feedback. The highlighting and comments will update as you make changes. If you like Hemingway and want to use it offline, you can purchase the desktop version for $9.99. This version has all the same features, but you can work offline and save your writing in Word.

While Hemingway doesn’t replace thoughtful editing and proof-reading, it is helpful for many writers. It can point out common mistakes, complicated language, and confusing sentences. It can also let you know if it will be an appropriate level and time for your reader.

For reference, this post was rated a grade nine reading level and assigned a reading time of 1:28. It also has four sentences that are hard to read that couldn’t be simplified any further.

Check out the Hemingway Editor here.